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Is your mobile device impacting your mental health negatively?

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We’re all hyperconnected in the modern world.

Many of the people who have crossed our paths in life can be contacted through our mobile devices. If you have a name, you can probably look them up online. Sounds creepy potentially, but it’s true.

The problem is, many of the apps on our smartphones are designed to be addictive. Manufacturers of smartphones attempt to manage this through screen time and various other features and functions, but ultimately it’s down to the individual as to how they manage their usage.

With UK-based users spending an average of around 4 hours per day on their smartphone, clearly we are very reliant and potentially attached to our phones in some way. It is reasonable to assume that mobile devices are going to impact our mental health.

However, is that impact negative or positive? The answer varies.

Undoubtedly, it’s a great feeling keeping in touch with people we’ve crossed paths with, via social media. You may wish someone you met on holiday once a happy birthday every year, for example. Isn’t it exciting, seeing what people have been up to and keeping up with their activities and movements?

It can however become problematic when we spend so long keeping up with the activities of others, that we neglect ourselves. Equally, it’s important to remember that social media is only a snippet of peoples’ lives, and it’s only likely to be a positive experience that’s shared. We would do well to remember that not everyone experiences positive things on a daily basis, while your life seemingly doesn’t compare. Equally, if your feed is full of negativity, it could be bringing you down, so remember to take a break sometimes.

Outside of social media, there are other apps that are potentially damaging, for example dating apps for adults, or some gaming apps. Ultimately, it’s the instant gratification or lack thereof that can be problematic. In addition, a number of games that feature in-app purchases or add-ons are geared against the user, who believes spending money will make them better at the game.

Ultimately, smartphones, social media and all of the modern gadgets and gizmos we are lucky enough to possess can be a force for good, but it’s important we carefully manage our usage and monitor the impact it has on our wellbeing. If we neglect that, we may be opening ourselves up for some negative effects, without quite understanding exactly why. This may lead to other harmful behaviours to escape, which traps us in a negative cycle.

Do you use any positive routines to help you manage your smartphone usage? Do you not use your phone an hour before bed to help you sleep, for example? Let us know on our social media channels. 

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